WATCH: Sean Mallen explains why Metrolinx is considering a 5 cent fare hike for Go Transit next year.
TORONTO – Commuters in the Greater Toronto Area can expect to pay a little bit more to use GO Transit services next year.
Metrolinx, the provincial agency that runs regional transit in the GTA and Hamilton area, is proposing a 5 per cent rate hike effective Feb. 1, 2015.
The provincial transit agency says it needs the extra money to pay for increased ridership demands, increased service, and more trains.
“Ridership keeps going up, it went up again. We expect 68 million boardings this year and last year it was 66 million. So it keeps going up and we have to meet those demands,” Anne Marie Aikins, a Metrolinx spokesperson said in an interview Tuesday.
“That’s welcome news, but we have to pay for that.”
There’s also increased service on the newly announced Milton line that needs to be paid for, Aikins said. Each new train costs $30 million while also hiking overall operating costs by $1 million.
Fuel is one of the larger costs borne by Metrolinx and as gas prices continue to fall might Metrolinx no longer need to increase fares? Likely not, Aikins said. Gas prices fluctuate and Metrolinx can’t rely on a consistently low price when budgeting for the next year.
“It could. But fuel prices are difficult to predict,” she said. “They go up, they go down and to build that into your budget is a difficult thing to do when we don’t know, we don’t have control on if they go up or they go down.”
Base adult single fares would be increased as follows:
The discounts offered to PRESTO customers will remain unchanged, as will the discounts offered to students and seniors.
The rate hike will be discussed an its end-of-year board meeting to take place this Thursday.
Metrolinx says the fare increase is necessary to offset the costs of improving services on both its rail and bus operations, investments in new infrastructure and increased ridership.